Saint-Gobain sells UK business

By Murray Pollok12 December 2022

Saint-Gobain is to sell its UK distribution business, including the Jewson chain of builders merchants, to Denmark’s Stark Group for £740 million (€850 million).

The sale includes Jewson, Jewson Tool Hire, Gibbs & Dandy, International Timber, and JP Corry in Northern Ireland. The acquired businesses, which operate from 600 locations, had sales of £2.3 billion in 2021.

Saint-Gobain’s UK business includes the Jewson network of builders merchants stores. (Photo: Saint-Gobain UK website)

Stark Group, based in Copenhagen, is one of the largest building materials businesses in Europe with operations in the Nordics, Germany and Austria and revenues of around €8 billion. It has doubled its sales since 2019 when it acquired Saint-Gobain’s German business.

The sale means a change of ownership at one of the largest tool hire chains in the UK. Jewson Tool Hire had estimated revenues of more than €100 million in 2021 and was ranked 96 in the IRN100 list of the largest 100 rental companies in the world.

The company told International Rental News that the UK tool hire business will continue, that it has rental activities at most of its European activities, and that Stark recognises the opportunity presented by rental.

Saint-Gobain’s said it was selling the UK business “to re-shape its business portfolio for the future aligned to its vision for leadership in light and sustainable construction.”

Stark’s Group CEO Søren P. Olesen said; “We have a strategy that successfully focuses on professional craftsmen and the renovation and maintenance market, which this acquisition fits very well into.

“In 2019, we bought Saint-Gobain’s German distribution business, and there are many similarities in this acquisition. We will do our utmost to develop, grow and invest behind the company making it the professional craftsmen’s preferred choice in the UK. We have acquired a business with whom we can continue our growth journey.”

Stark said that since acquiring Saint-Gobain’s German business in 2019 it had doubled sales through organic growth and acquisitions.

Olesen added that despite the tough economic environment, the UK’s renovation and maintenance market will be attractive for many decades.

The transaction is expected to close in the spring of 2023.

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